President Trump just had the best week of his presidency. Honestly, this “world religion tour” couldn’t have gone any smoother, all things considered. No major glitches. No major protocol flubs. He came across as a president who projected strength and poise on the world stage. White House officials were not available for comment because they were doing cartwheels. It was that good. But, as Paul Harvey says, let’s now turn to, “the rest of the story.” It’s crucial and spiritual.
I just experienced one full (and I mean FULL) week of following President Donald J. Trump around as he flew to those three major world religion capitals. It was an amazing experience in so many different ways (The only downside was the multiple buffets along the way. Spiritual food is good. Foods loaded in carbohydrates are not. Sorry, I digress). President Trump could have gone to Canada first. He could have gone to Mexico (well, on second thought…), he could have gone anywhere in the world. Instead, he chose to put faith front and center. How so? Look, this trip wasn’t just about coming together to fight terrorism, fortify strategic partnerships or even begin the process of a potential peace deal between the Israelis and the Palestinians. All of that is absolutely spot-on but what was the prism? In other words, what was the arc? The narrative? The underlying theme? On the surface you may say, “peace” or, “living in harmony with one another.” Good answers. But the true crux of it all begins and ends with God. President Trump himself made that very clear.
Wrap your head around this for a moment. When was the last time a President of the United States invoked the name of God in public remarks as often as Donald Trump did during one week alone? You’d be hard pressed to find one in recent memory. After a little research, did you know that he invoked God’s name thirty times in three days? That’s remarkable. These weren’t just throwaway lines like, “God bless America.” When God’s name was mentioned, it was invoked with power and meaning (I’m not even including all the times he talked about praying or other spiritual terms). The “God Examples” are numerous but here are just a few. When you read them, let the words soak in to understand just how impactful they are:
Arab Islamic American Summit
“Terrorists do not worship God, they worship death.”
“If we do not stand in uniform condemnation of this killing—then not only will we be judged by our people, not only will we be judged by history, but we will be judged by God.”
“Our goal is a coalition of nations who share the aim of stamping out extremism and providing our children a hopeful future that does honor to God.”
“With God’s help, this summit will mark the beginning of the end for those who practice terror and spread its vile creed.”
“Every time a terrorist murders an innocent person, and falsely invokes the name of God, it should be an insult to every person of faith.”
“If you choose the path of terror, your life will be empty, your life will be brief, and YOUR SOUL WILL BE CONDEMNED.” (No God reference here but it was so good and compelling I had to include it).
Speech at the Israel Museum:
“I visited the Western Wall, and marveled at the monument to God’s presence and man’s perseverance…”
“I was humbled to place my hand upon the (Western) wall and to pray in that holy space for wisdom from God.”
“This city, like no other place in the world, reveals the longing of the human heart – to know and worship God.”
“…we see that God’s promise of healing has brought goodness to so many lives.”
“I ask this land of promise to join with me to fight our common enemies, to pursue our shared values, and to protect the dignity of every child of God.”
“It was history’s darkest hour. Millions of innocent, wonderful and beautiful lives -- men, women and children -- were extinguished as part of a systematic attempt to eliminate the Jewish people. It was the most savage crime against God and his children.”
“…we ask God to give us the strength, wisdom and courage to chart the righteous path.”
“God bless the Jewish people. And God bless the State of Israel.”
With Mahmoud Abbas:
“In this spirit of hope, we come to Bethlehem, asking God for a more peaceful, safe, and far more tolerant world for all of us.”
With Benjamin Netanyahu:
“This is a land filled with beauty, wonder, and the spirit of God.”
“I was deeply moved by my visit today to the Western Wall. Words fail to capture the experience. It will leave an impression on me forever.” (No “God reference but impactful statement).
So where does that leave us? Let’s bottom-line this: Nobody can predict what God is going to do with all this reverence for His name on the world stage. All I know is that it’s the right thing to do and blessing will come from it. When God’s name is glorified, exalted and magnified, watch out. Good things happen. President Trump has already been blessed with a great, “World Religion Tour.” He was blessed with the support of a record number of evangelicals who came out for him last November. And one more thing: God made him President of the United States because he’s in control of all things. There’s plenty of blessing to go around.
Now, please understand this: I know President Trump didn’t write the entire speech himself but do you really think he’s going to read something he doesn’t truly believe? C’mon. He’s the type that would look at it and say, “That’s a pile of garbage. Get me a rewrite!” Remember, Trump is, “old school” when it comes to his faith. He remembers a time where you dressed up for church and truly had a reverence for the clergy. In our first interview together in 2011, he told me, “There's no way I would ever… do anything negative to a Bible…I would have a fear of doing something other than very positive…”
One final point to make and I’ll leave you with this: it should not be lost that this, “World Religion Tour” was President Trump’s first overseas trip. He could have done this trip in a few months or made it the second trip but there’s something special about it being the first one. It has extra significance and sends a message. Trump was clearly sending a message of strength and for all faiths to come together for good in the world. That’s great. But something just tells me that God has even greater plans. Let’s just call that “God’s Holy Tour.” And that’s a journey we should all follow.